“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Irish poet Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
I think you would agree that there is advice, and then there is advice. That’s especially true when it comes to golf. We all have “that golf buddy” who sincerely believes that he can immediately correct your duck hook with a few technical words such as, “Your grip is all wrong. I want you to rotate your left hand to the left until you can see two knuckles of your left hand.”
Well, on-course corrections rarely work, especially if they go beyond something very simple such as, “You are swinging way too fast.”
On the other hand, taking in a little advice from highly successful players while relaxing at home might actually help your game. That’s why I started sifting through books and articles looking for The Best Advice Ever From the Best Golfers of All Time. As you will see, given the multiple challenges of golf, the advice below runs the gamut from the mechanical to the cerebral. Listen to the best!
The Best Advice Ever From the Best Golfers of All Time
1) Jack Nicklaus (b. 1940), 18 Majors won – “Rather than tamper with what comes naturally, strive to swing rhythmically whatever your pace. Rhythm is the quality with which you meld all the moving parts of the swing, and the smoother it is the better your timing will be.”
2) Bobby Jones (1902 – 1971), 13 Majors – “I grant willingly that there are times when one must have just a little more length than he would feel like trying for normally. It is not a good idea to strive for the ultimate length off every tee, but it is a fine thing to be able to produce a few extra yards when they are needed. But this additional can never be had by stretching and slugging. On the contrary, it is obtained more easily by increasing the turn, and use of the hips and shoulders.”
3) Tiger Woods (b. 1975) 15 Majors – “From greenside bunkers, aim for the top of the flagstick – most misses from sand come up short rather than long, so give yourself the benefit of the doubt.”
4) Walter Hagen (1892 – 1969), 11 Majors – “A player with a fairly safe lead figures that he cannot afford to take any chances and begins to play safe. This is about the worst thing that he could do. Unconsciously he permits the body to stiffen and the swing is thrown out of its rhythm. Bad shots follow each other in rapid succession. The player thinks it is hard luck, but it is nothing more than what I have described. It is not always a case of losing one's nerve.”
5) Harry Vardon (1870 – 1937), 7 Majors -- “More matches are lost through carelessness at the beginning than any other cause.“
6) Ben Hogan (1912 – 1997), 9 Majors -- “You know why I’m so goddamn good? I never move my right knee.” – Nine-time Major winner Ben Hogan (1912 – 1997).
7) Sam Snead (1912- 2002), 7 Majors – “I always tried to grip the club with a very light grip pressure. I never developed calluses on my hands because I kept my hands light and soft on the club. You could probably take my club away from me at the top of the backswing, I gripped it so lightly. I think that with light grip pressure, you can get more zip and better release at impact for more distance.
Tie 8) Arnold Palmer (1920 – 2016), 7 Majors – “Making solid contact is crucial to establishing good roll on your putts. If you been coming up short on many of your putts, check your head movement; it’s the prime cause for mishit putts. Be especially sure to stay set during and through impact. Try to see the putter strike the back of the ball before looking up.”
Tie 8) Tom Watson (b. 1949), 8 Majors – “Spine angle: A golfer creates a spine angle when he bends forward from the waist, keeping his back straight and flexing the knees. The upper body turns around this spine angle both back and through. The spine angle is an axis to swing around. It should not change from address through impact.”
10) Gary Player (b. 1935), 9 Majors -- “You want to improve your game? Practice from a hundred yards in. Jordan Spieth doesn’t hit the ball anywhere near Rory, Adam Scott or Jason Day, not in the same league. But he beats them (sometimes), because golf is played from a hundred yards in -- bunker shots, chipping and putting. That’s how you will lower your handicap. Go to your local pro, have lessons on your short game.”
One last piece of advice from a 12-handicapper – Remember, fixes don’t happen overnight.